Famous Cracks and Fail

When interviewers ask me why I chose UCT as my tertiary institution of choice, my standard answer is always “Because it is the best university in Africa.” After all, it is the only university in Africa to make it to the top 200 of the World University Rankings. But what does it actually mean? Was it a true reflection on the standard of education or was the score more biased towards research than student enrichment?

Having been at UCT for almost three years, I can safely say my undergraduate experience has not been rainbows, butterflies and unicorn poop. In fact, my journey (thus far) has been plagued by incompetent lecturers (who were really students with a distinct lack of communication skills) and sub-par course secretaries who could do with some additional computer training (to be evidenced below).

As part of the department’s competency framework, we are required to complete course evaluations for our subjects. Every course uses the same template, so it really boggles my mind when something like this happens:

Of course, at this point, I realise everyone is probably urging me to use my common sense. First radio button means ‘Yes’, second means ‘No’. Except, when I hovered my cursor over the first radio button, a “No” box popped up; when I hovered over the second radio button – nothing. I suppose credit must be given for the fact that they actually bothered conducting these evaluations. Nothing permeates the message ‘We Care About Our Students’ as well as misaligned columns.

By now, you must be wondering what ‘Famous Cracks’ is doing in the title… I’m getting there – and no, it has nothing to do with fat people’s butt-cracks (contrary to what Google search might tell you). One of the management accounting lecturers emailed us with a nice real-life example (sort of) to a question we did on Risk and Uncertainty. I won’t bore you with the details, but the gist of the question dealt with concrete floors and their susceptibility to crackings under aging and improper packing.

And so, his email contained pictures of a famous crack in a concrete floor. The question was to find out where this building is, why is the crack famous, and how it was made. I got the answer after a couple of Google searches — Do you know what this famous crack is?

Mommy Dearest

My relationship with my mom has been strained at the best of times. It’s like the typical teenager versus parent battle where everything she does annoys the hell out of me (and I’m sure everything I do has the same effect on her judging by the frequency of her shouting episodes). On the rare occasions that my friends visit, they always remark on how wonderful and nice my mom is. They can’t understand why I portray her in such a bad light. Well, that’s because she puts on a facade in the presence of my friends and goes into stereotypical Asian parent mode – i.e. she puts a tonne of junk food on several platters and force feeds them to my friends. Let’s face it, not one teenager in the entire universe would scornfully judge the hand that feeds them biscuits and sweets. However, the minute my friends leave, her persona reverts back to what I call the Annoying Parent Mode, and here’s why:

Case 1: My mom rummages through my closet and unearths a pile of clothes from 2002. She holds up each individual item of clothing and asks if I still want to wear it. (Perhaps she missed my growth spurt in 2005?) After I repeatedly tell her they don’t fit me anymore, she unleashes a heavy sigh and says: “What a waste…” (pause) “…maybe I’ll be able to fit in some of these.”

Case 2: My mom asks me to type up a Word document and she insists on watching me type it up.
Mom: “WAIT! That word has a squiggly green line under it! Get rid of that squiggly green line!”
Me: (Sigh)
Mom: “What’s that blinking line?” (Points to the cursor)
Me: (sigh)
At this point, I’m so peeved off that I tell her to do the rest herself seeing as she claims to know better than me. So she sits down in front of the laptop and tries to figure out how to use the mouse. Five minutes later, she finally manages to move the cursor from the top of the document to the bottom, not knowing that she was supposed to left click at some point between minute 0 and minute 5.

Case 3: My mom complains about being bored at home and decides to start learning the “interwebs”. She waves a Windows 98 manual in a face and proudly proclaims that she’s now well versed in how to operate a computer and browse the World Wide Web. She still has no clue what a modem is.

Case 4: I walk into the bathroom and find her crouching on the floor, examining my toiletries.
Me: “What are you doing?”
Mom: “Oh just looking.” (She holds up my Labello) “What’s this?”
Me: “…Stuff for your lips”
Mom: “Oh… Where’d you buy it?”
Me: “At a supermarket”
Mom: “Which one?”
Me: “…anyone?”
(She runs off and tells my dad to get her one as if it’s something shiny and special)

Case 5: My mom holds up an outfit she bought when she was in China.
Mom: “You want it?”
Me: “No.”
Mom: “It matches.”
Me: “No.”
Mom: “The jacket is really warm. It’s perfect for Cape Town weather.”
Me: “No.”
(30 minutes later)
Mom: “Are you sure you don’t want it?”
Me: (Sigh)

Case 6: I’m busy chatting online and my mom walks in.
Mom: “Are you cold?”
Me: “I’m fine.”
Mom: “Do you want me to close the window?”
Me: “Nope.”
(She goes and closes the window)
Mom: “Do you want me to turn on the heater?”
Me: “No.”
Mom: “You don’t have to worry about the electricity bill.”
Me: “Okay, fine.”
(She turns on the heater and walks away)
(10 minutes later she comes back)
Mom: “Don’t forget to switch it off when you go to bed. The price of electricity went up by 25% you know.”… As if I would forget to turn it off $%%&££$%^”#!

Of course, that being said, my mom is still great in that:
1. She makes my bed
2. She does my laundry
3. She cleans
4. She spoon feeds me when I’m sick
5. She loves me unconditionally even though she has threatened to kick me out plenty of times

I don’t want to come off as ungrateful. I do appreciate all the things my mom does for me, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that she is also forgetful (at times), annoying (most of the time) and overprotective (all of the time). I love my dad though. He is beyond cool :)


If you know me in real life, you will know that I am far from being the most gracious person on the planet. I trip over my own feet, I walk into automatic sliding doors, I drop things and I break them. I almost always have bruises on my arms and legs because hard objects keep on getting in my way. However, this post is not about me and my clumsiness. It is about someone else’s misfortune…

A couple of days ago, I was strolling leisurely up the library stairs when a girl came flying down (quite literally) and her scream travelled all the way from the top of the stairs to the bottom. (She slipped on a puddle of water apparently.) On her way down, she instinctively reached out in a feeble attempt to grab at anything that could potentially stop her fall, and as luck would have it, I was the stopping tool. Unfortunately, instead of grabbing onto something soft and cuddly, she crashed into my hard and pointy umbrella. Needless to say, my umbrella didn’t handle the impact so well. As white knights rushed to her side, I couldn’t help but stare at my poor umbrella which, by that stage, was lying bent at a 30 degree angle. I almost wanted to shout “Hey, you broke my umbrella!” but I figured the poor girl had suffered enough humiliation already; drawing further attention to the fact that she single-handedly chop-sueyed my umbrella would be rather cruel.

I brushed off the incident and continued to make my way to the library. A couple of minutes later, a throbbing pain in my index finger called for my attention. To my horror, the middle joint was swollen and the patch of redness had started taking on a purple hue. The silly girl must have bumped my finger and I was too worried about the umbrella to notice. Luckily I was still able to write my objective test – incapacitated finger and all. I even managed to fix my umbrella (by standing on it)! Who knew they would be so flexible?

Moral of the story? Wear proper shoes! Falling is so last century.

Story of a friend (of a friend)

Statistically speaking, there will always be one weirdo (or freakazoid, depending on the intensity of your judgement) in a group of randomly composed individuals.  This post is about someone whom I have never met, but the stories involving him are so legendary that I have to dedicate an entry to him. (For the sake of anonymity, we shall call this guy “Duke”.)

Duke was, relatively speaking, a normal student studying computer science at UCT.  Everything was hunky dory until the end of his third year of studies where he suddenly garnered the urge to join the British Army.  So, he dropped out of university in order to pursue his new dream, while under the delusion that “people don’t die in armies anymore”.  His parents (for some unfathomable reason) supported this crazy notion.  Instead of going ballistic at the thought of seeing their son drop out in his final year of university, they simply went, “That’s nice”.  However, instead of flying to the UK, Duke packed up all of his belongings and went home.  Reason: he didn’t want to join the army in winter; he’d rather go in summer. So, he moped around the house for about 6 months and played video games all day long.

Six months came and went, and his “Army” idea went with them.  (I guess the novelty just wore off.) Duke was suddenly faced with a new spectrum of decisions.  He was a 20-something year old with no qualification, no driver’s licence, and minimum work experience.  Luckily, with some persuasion from his step-father, Duke finally decided not to throw his future away, and to apply for an engineering degree at the University of Pretoria.  (Why Step-dad steered Duke to a new degree was a mystery, but theories suggest that he wanted Duke to keep an eye on the Sister who was on the verge of dropping out of university herself.)

As (bad) luck would have it, UP refused Duke’s application on the basis that his marks were not good enough.  To combat his disappointment, Duke decided to take a short holiday to Mozambique where he drank so much that the next day, when he was on a diving expedition, he threw up in his regulator while underwater. As pieces of regurgitated food came out, schools of fish started gathering around him and were nibbling on the puke. (Disgusting imagery, I know!) Duke survived the ordeal, but needless to say, his mom was not impressed.

Moral of the story? STAY IN SCHOOL!

No, I do not want to star in your B-grade porno!

Every once in a while, an email would appear in my inbox, headlined by subjects such as “Grow another inch” or “Viagra for sustainability”. Such spammages are easy to detect, and they invariably end up in my trash folder without ever being opened.

A couple of days ago, I received an email forwarded from a legitimate source. It was a casting advertisementfor two roles in an independent short film directed by (presumably) a student. The roles were to be filled by an Asian manand an Asian woman. (The director was pretty specific about that.) The body of the email seemed perfectly legit,which I suppose was why the dude forwarded to all the ROCSA (Republic of China’s Student Association) members in the first place. The attached script, on the other hand, was abit more suspect.

Here’s an extract from Act Two: Scene One:

We hear sounds of laughter and happiness. We see the couple enter the front door. They drop groceries, kiss each other. We follow them to the bedroom (We stop at the door). Clothes fall on floor in frame.

Woman: “Are you going to help me with these or are you just going to stand there looking pretty?”

Man: “The latter.”

Woman: “Well, you won’t get any nookie unless you help.”

Man: “Is that a threat or a promise?”

Woman: (laughs) “Both.”

Man helps her get groceries into house but his “help” is more of a hindrance because while she’s trying to unpack, he’s sidling up behind her, squeezing various parts of her body and rubbing himself againsther.

Woman: “Cut it out, I have to get the milk in the fridge.”

Man: (nibbles her ear) “I can think of something cold that needs warming up.”

Woman: “You’re impossible!” (she clearly likes the attentionand is pretending her annoyance)

Man: “I’ve got some meat…”

Woman: “Well, in that case.” (she squirms when she tickles him)

Man: (Pulls her to the bedroom) “Me, Tarzan, you Jane.”

Woman: “More like the bogeyman! Ouch!” (she twists out ofhis grip to dash for the bedroom)

Man: (growls and blocks her passage to the bedroom,smothering her in kisses) “What’s the secret password?”

Woman: “I thought you were the one who was so eager?”

Man: “Oh, I am, but I’ve got something extra special for youbut I wanna hear you beg.”

Woman: (implied that she’s grabbed his crotch) “You call THAT special?”

Man: (Momentary look of shock then his look grows serious)“Careful with the goods, you don’t know what you’re handling there.”

Woman: “I know perfectly well what I’ve got in my hand.(They kiss pull back to look at each other and they’ve gone from playful tolustful) “Mmm, I think I want some of that.”

Man: “Then quit talking and kiss me.”

Woman: (pushes man back into bedroom and falls upon him onthe bed, her hands over his chest while she hungrily kisses his face and worksher way down) “You like it rough?”

Man: (twists around to dominate her, pinning her to the bed)“Not so helpless now.”

Woman: (she appears to want to say something but he silencesher with a kiss. It’s implied that his hand has gone to her crotch and when hestops kissing her she groans)

Man: “You want?”

Woman: “Yes!”

Lol! I think the irony of it all is that I responded to this email (before I read the script), and I eagarly told the guy that I would like to audition for the role, and even enquired about the fee!

Humour 101

Most of you know how much I hate facebutt applications. In fact, I am at a point where I simply ignore every app invitation that happens to pop up periodically. Recently, while reading through a friend’s profile, I came across a rather funny note:

facebutt apps

They wanna give me facebutt, but I say No, No, No

Something else to tickle the funny bone:



Geek it till it MHz!

After weeks of graphing 3-dimensional vectors and planes, we finally migrated to a less tedious section of our maths syllabus. Today, we were introduced to the infamous ‘i‘. (For the mathematically challenged, the letter i denotes the square root of -1.)

The slightly eccentric professor C. Gilmour thought it fitting to start off the lecture with the geekiest joke on the planet:
i and pi walked into a room.
i said to pi: “Be Rational.”
Pi replied, “Get real.”

The humour caught on like a house on fire, and everyone burst out laughing, including me. Some time during the laugh, I thought to myself, “Boy, when did I become so geeky?
And then it dawned on me. It is ok to be a geek, because geeks will rule the world one day. As my one friend said it best: Geek it till it MHz!